Day Nineteen, Date Tuesday, March 19, 2009, Time
Time in Saddle: 5.5 hrs
Distance for the Day: 56.5 miles: From Baker To Shoshone
Accumulated Trip Distance: 819.25
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 1216’/1940’, Highest: 2399’, Accumulated: 2277’
Speeds: Avg: 9.6 mph, Max: 25.8 mph
Up at 6am, ready to go by 7:30am, had breakfast of hot choco and a muffin ($6) (from the convenient convenience store that we slept behind). We didn’t get a very good night’s sleep, due to the close proximity to Hwy 15, and the fact that the building we were behind was a gas station where trucks, motorcycles, and other loud vehicles would stop in at all night. I had earplugs, but these noises still penetrated, so I got only sporadic sleep – I don’t know how Katy and Louis fared, but they couldn’t have done much better. I was originally going to go to Las Vegas by sticking to Hwy 15 all the way, but my new companions found out that was a very tough ride, with a mountain pass over seven thousand feet high. An alternate route, Hwy 127 (Death Valley Rd) took a longer, more circuitous route, but didn’t have the same high climbs. I decided to continue on with them (duh!) Katy is a killer cyclist – she outperforms both Louis and me, but she’s a spinning instructor at home (in Mallorca, Spain), and is in top shape. She expects Louis to come up to her level within a few more weeks. Interestingly, I can keep pace with them on mostly level terrain, and can go way faster than them on relatively steep downhill grades, but they can easily kick my butt on uphill grades, where I typically will go 3-5 mph, while they go more like 7-8 mph. I think this is due to the design difference of our cycles, mine being a recumbent trike with low wind resistance, as opposed to their bicycles, which don’t do as well against a headwind, but can utilize gravity better (pushing down on their pedals, instead of forward with mine) when the wind isn’t so much a factor, such as in slower, uphill work. So, they wait for me at the tops of hills, and they catch up to me after a downhill that turns back into an uphill. For their full story, see their website at http://www.rodantpelmon.com/, which means “cycle the world,” which is what they are doing (Canada, next, and then New Zealand after that!)
After a grueling climb from ~800’ to 2400’ during the worst part of the day (10am – 2pm) in the hot stinking desert, I hit the Ibex Pass which crested at 2090’going into Inyo County Line. We were then rewarded with an equally long descent, and pulled into the tiny town of Shoshone, just about 60 mi southeast of Pahrump, NV. I found quickly enough, that if I tried to keep pace with them on the uphill grades, I would come dangerously close to heat exhaustion, so quit trying – let ‘em wait! My knees seem to be almost fool-proof, now; I haven’t heard from them for a couple of days (ever since my rest-up at Auntie Elsie’s), though my leg muscles still get a little stiff after those long, hard uphill pushes. I tell ya: trying to keep pace with Katy on an uphill grade is tantamount to suicide. Once in Shoshone, we got supplies from the local store ($11 for me), and a pay-for campsite ($5 – my share of the $25 total), and dinner ($12). We took a dip in the natural hot spring-fed pool with a mild 95° temperature, and found some free wi-fi at the local, well, I don’t know what you’d call it: a place that promotes and preserves the local area’s history and uniqueness. It’s called, The Amargosa Conservancy, and they have free wi-fi and electricity and even a computer and printer for anyone to use, apparently 24 hours a day. Wow! Eat your heart out, Starbucks! I’ve been using my helmet cam to take videos of both Katy and Louis and myself while on the road, and helped Louis set up his laptop so it could play the AVI files my recorder uses. I also showed him how to edit the videos using Windows Media Maker. Both Louis and I stayed up at the Amargosa Conservancy until about 10pm working on our various emails and websites, before heading back to camp to get a decent night’s sleep. I left a donation ($5) for the computer usage.
Oh, by the way: in Baker, I filled my stove’s fuel bottle with unleaded regular gasoline. I’ve never used that particular fuel before – it seems it will clog the fuel jets faster, but I couldn’t get to any stores that sold “white gas” whenever it occurred to me to get some. From looking up my stove on the web, I found out that unleaded gas would cause the stove to clog up much quicker. Luckily, I ran into a nice couple who were willing to give me a bit of their white gas, so I dumped the unleaded stuff onto a concrete slab for it to evaporate, and replaced it with the good stuff.